Reprints: 1877 – Star coal mine a recent addition to Erie’s growing coal industry


The important coal mining town of Erie, Colorado is in the county of Weld, close to the eastern line of Boulder County. But the coal measures stand this way to the Marshall Bank and the mountains. It is estimated that the coal lands between Erie and Davidson Station on the C.C.R.R. are good for one hundred million tons of coal; and from Davidson to the mountains it is continuous coal measure.

In counting our magnificent resources, we are accustomed to lay too little stress on the wealth of coal in the county; nor is our natural wealth bounded by our county lines. Eastward the measure extends into Weld, it is not known how far: and southward to Golden.

The coal business of this section has grown up within the last eight to nine years, the first bank in the vicinity of Erie, the Boulder Valley mine, being opened in 1868. The town of Erie has grown up within the last few years, now numbering six hundred inhabitants, and the annual earnings of the coal miners amount to one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. The demand for coal is rapidly increasing, and the time is not distant when the number employed in coal mining in this section will be transcended by thousands instead of hundreds, and millions of dollars will be paid out annually for their earnings. The present rates of the growth of business will soon bring about this result.


Illustrative of the development of the coal resources, is the successful operation of the Star mine a little this side of Erie in this county.

It was opened last fall by the owners, Mesrrs. Dresser, Williams and Wise. Mr. Wallis of Erie has an interest in the property — 160 acres of coal lands. Mr. Wallis was formerly the popular Superintendent of the Boulder Valley Coal Company, now in so much trouble. Mr. Dresser is recently from California, and Mr. Williams is B.M. of this town, and Mr. Wise of the firm is our former correspondent, W.O.W.

A little more than ten thousand dollars was expended in putting the star men in complete working order. This included sinking a shaft 163 feet down, and hosting works driven by a double engine, 34 horse power. All the machinery for the operation of this property — in mining phrase termed the plant — is the very best in use, equal to any in the State. The whole business is conducted economically, and sensibly, no high salaries being paid to foreman and superintendent, the proprietors attending to that kind of business themselves. There are now employed in and about the mine thirty-six men, the miners receiving a dollar per ton for mining the coal, landing on the carts and average of sixty tons per day.

Across the road from the Star is the well known Rob Roy mine, the place being called Canfield Station, for Mr. Canfield who has charge of the works — the property belonging to Mr. West. This mine is more extensively opened, and is doing about twice the business done at the Star. Both are working up to full capacity of the ground cut by the tunnels. South one mile from Erie are the Mitchell and Stewart mines; and other mines are opened still further up Coal creek valley, between the B.V. and C.C. crossroads, but not near enough to either to be well accommodated.

The successful opening of the Star mine illustrates what will be done over a big scope of coal land, as the demand for coal increases. So fast as it becomes needful to bring the coal resources into requisition, side tracks, or switches, will fan out from the trunk lines to cover the area required.

A great deal of the land under-laid with coal is good wheat land; and what is not arable is excellent grazing. The soil can be improved to support the miners who delve under it. This double natural wealth insures an ultimate dense population, and large towns of which Erie will become a central one on the coal belt.

The Boulder County News
April 27, 1877